Herrera Land

One day reading through Facebook I found an intriguing link from Grace Emmual. It was of a Latin American canon of literature. It was organized with “if you like _____ try _____” As in,

If you have to read: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Try: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Remezla’s Website


If you have to read: Beowulf
Try: Popol Vuh

Remezla’s Website

Or, the one that got me,

If you have to read: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Try: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Remezla’s Website

There are more, many more, check them out at Remezla’s Website. I will certainly be back for more to read.

Their book Signs Preceding the End of the World begins with a woman walkig down the street.

I’m dead, Makina said to herself when everything lurched: a man with a cane was crossing the street, a dull groan suddenly surged through the asphalt, the man stood still as if waiting for someone to repeat the question and then the earth opened up beneath his feet: it swallowed the man, and with him a car and a dog, all the oxygen around and even the screams of passers-by.

Opening sentence of Signs Preceding the End of the World

Could you stop reading there? I couldn’t. So I continued.

Three cheers for Lisa Dillman! She is the translator of the work and several others. Translators have a difficult craft to practice. Ms. Dillman does so well.

It seems Patti Smith is also a fan of this book and other by Yuri Herrera. She is in “Herrera Land” (where I stole the headline) where you can find Kingdom Cons. Which is, fortunatly, avaailble at my local library.

I’m off to finish this book and hope the hold list for Kingdom Cons is not too long a wait.

On Patti Smith

If you read, then you must read this article. If you don’t read, or read much, you should skim this article to catch a nugget or two about why reading is great to do.

Feel free to skip the What books are on your nightstand? and What’s the last great book you read? Both questions are fluff. Go on to What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?, What book should everybody read before the age of 21?, or Has a book ever brought you closer to another person, or come between you? These are not ordinary questions with illuminating answers.

Learning Poetry

I don’t know how to write
poetry. I try once and again, and again
But mostly I study it by reading.

Occasionally I find a poem that shows me a way. In structure, in content, so I save a copy to reread it. Here is an example.

Learning to Read
By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Very soon the Yankee teachers
   Came down and set up school;
But, oh! how the Rebs did hate it,—
   It was agin’ their rule.

Our masters always tried to hide
   Book learning from our eyes;
Knowledge did’nt agree with slavery—
   ’Twould make us all too wise.

But some of us would try to steal
   A little from the book.
And put the words together,
   And learn by hook or crook.

I remember Uncle Caldwell,
   Who took pot liquor fat
And greased the pages of his book,
   And hid it in his hat.

And had his master ever seen
   The leaves upon his head,
He’d have thought them greasy papers,
   But nothing to be read.

And there was Mr. Turner’s Ben,
   Who heard the children spell,
And picked the words right up by heart,
   And learned to read ’em well.

Well, the Northern folks kept sending
   The Yankee teachers down;
And they stood right up and helped us,
   Though Rebs did sneer and frown.

And I longed to read my Bible,
   For precious words it said;
But when I begun to learn it,
   Folks just shook their heads,

And said there is no use trying,
   Oh! Chloe, you’re too late;
But as I was rising sixty,
   I had no time to wait.

So I got a pair of glasses,
   And straight to work I went,
And never stopped till I could read
   The hymns and Testament.

Then I got a little cabin
   A place to call my own—
And I felt independent
   As the queen upon her throne.


From Poetry Foundatin – Poem of the day

Whether you wish to learn or just enjoy, the Poetry Foundation has lots to share with you.

Learn(ing) Latin

But why? You can, like a child, fumble your way through Latin on Duolingo. OK, that’s how, not why. Well, let’s listen to this guy. Ignore the nerd part, it will only last a couple of minutes.

I found it via Open Culture, at Why Learn Latin? which features that video above.
For me, the argument that Latin is Dead, is like saying arithmetic is dead. Yes, the vocabulary doesn’t drift, and neither does the syntax. One can get into the language and chew on it.

For fun from the fifties, there’s these arguments for learning Latin:

I’m ready to have Latin mold my mind. In addition to Duolingo, there is an online class via University of Texas Austin.

National Welsh Rarebit Day

Well, Alton Brown instructs us to:

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes. Add hot sauce. Pour over toast and serve immediately.

From webpage

You might want to try this recipe from the BBC.

I’ve just been melting cheese over bread. It’s plenty good.


Do you listen to 10% Happier? It’s an app, it’s a podcast, it’s a YouTube video. Well OK, there are many YouTube videos. Lots of podcasts. But 10% Happier is a place where you can start for free. I’ve been a starter since 2015. Enjoying the benefits of the App for Android phones (yes, there’s an iApp too) for years now.

This is something that I know people can preach about. So I’m done. But, if you do try it and want to talk, get a hold of me.

Give it a whirl, as described here in Meditation 101. Or right here:

On Caring

Despite my best efforts, I understand a third Democratic “debate” is about to happen. I’m not watching. I finally found this gem of a Vlogbrothers post, which has in part sums up my feelings. In response I commented:

John, I really think it’s time to reshow this again. It was hard enough to find. But now, well gee. Look what the extended primary got us.

OK, maybe make a new vlog episode or just slap a header on this and run it again. As we approach the third Democratic “debates” it’s really time.

Me, on the comments

So watch and decide for yourself.